5 Missouri spots to visit: Urban farms, museums, the 'biggest bar in St. Louis' and more
Looking to see Missouri from another angle? Our state regularly sees new hotspots develop — and other destinations expand and upgrade their offerings.
Representatives of the Missouri Division of Tourism recently compiled a list of "new and expanded attractions" within Missouri's borders. Here's a quick look at just five, from natural beauties to keepers of crucial history.
Bryant Creek State Park in Ava
Opened in September, Bryant Creek State Park (about a 3 1/2-hour drive from Columbia) stretches more than 2900 acres and boasts a number of quietly alluring natural features. According to the park's website, the area joins "impressively large oaks and shortleaf pines," "four tributary hollows" which carve "through uncut forest and sandstone outcrops" and Missouri's lone species of native pine.
Bryant Creek features a pair of hiking trails, lovely vistas and will continue to be developed to suit visitors. Learn more about the park at https://mostateparks.com/park/bryant-creek-state-park.
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Finley Farms in Ozark
Located on the grounds of an 1830s mill, Finley Farms (around 3 hours from Columbia) continues expanding its cultural footprint by cultivating an urban farm. Farmers Liesel McCleary and Brendan Sinclair support "on-property restaurants with seasonal produce," according to the venue's website and host a variety of agriculture-related tours and classes.
To give an idea of what's offered, March happenings include a yoga and meditation session; classes on DIY recycled terrariums, pressed flower wall art and Prohibition-era cocktails; as well as how-to sessions on herbal first-aid kits and macrame plant hangers.
Opened and sustained by the family of Bass Pro Shops' Johnny Morris, Finley Farms also includes the aforementioned restaurants, a workshop with a coffeehouse and makerspace and a weekly farmers' market from late spring through early fall.
Check out the full Finley Farms experience at https://finleyfarmsmo.com/.
The Armory in St. Louis
Billed as "the biggest bar" in the Gateway City, the space — which opened in its current iteration in December — claims 250,000 square feet worth of a good time. The Armory hosts bars, gaming, food and a major stage for concerts. Upcoming events this spring include shows by Randy Rogers Band and Lil Jon.
The Armory finds new purpose for an old space; the Market Street venue opened in 1938 to host the 138th Infantry Missouri National Guard Armory. Since then, it's been home to tennis clubs, bowling tournaments and more.
The Armory is open to those 21 and older Mondays through Fridays; younger attendees are admitted with a guardian until 6 p.m. on weekends. Learn more and find a full event calendar at https://www.armorystl.com/.
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St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum in St. Louis
Bringing a singular, tragic moment in history even closer to home, the Kaplan Feldman museum can now bring the story of the Holocaust into even greater relief with an expansion that has tripled its size, according to the Division of Tourism.
The museum handles this history in a number of ways: through film screenings and lectures, a Yom HaShoah commemoration next month and both permanent and traveling exhibits.
The museum's Impact Lab promises a "conversation-based experience" that digs into the roots of hatred and genocide "all while explaining to visitors what it means to be a bystander and the importance of becoming an active ally," its website notes.
And "survivors remain the heart of the Museum," the website notes, both through their donations to exhibits and the stories survivors and their relatives share with visitors.
"Dozens of local survivors recorded their histories, which remain a rich trove of primary history," the museum adds.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets to the main museum range from $6 to $12 (free for survivors and kids ages 10 and under); tickets to the Impact Lab are $2-$3 (again, free for 10 and under). Visit https://stlholocaustmuseum.org/ for much more.
Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center at Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis
Augmenting the beauty at Missouri Botanical Garden, the new Taylor Visitor Center joins outdoor and indoor elements, setting the tone for what visitors can expect.
Within its lobby, a scrim "mimics the quality of light experienced when walking under a canopy of mature trees," according to the garden's website; an auditorium allows for various educational opportunities and its glass walls "provide full views of the lush south gardens and inviting landscapes beyond"; and a conservatory "invites guests to explore a unique landscape of Mediterranean plants."
The space is now home to approximately 46,000 plants within its entryway, the Division of Tourism adds.
Missouri Botanical Garden currently is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets range from $6-$14 and admission is free for ages 12 and under. Visit https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/ for a calendar of exhibits and more details.
Aarik Danielsen is the features and culture editor for the Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Plan an in-state trip to these 5 new, improved Missouri locales